Landmarks Approval Sets Off Far West Village Rezoning Race
On July 27th, the Landmarks Preservation Commission gave final approval to plans for a new 6-story building at 685 Washington Street at Charles Street (see details on GVSHP’s Landmarks Application Webpage HERE). The site is located both within the Far West Village extension of the Greenwich Village Historic District which GVSHP and community groups successfully fought for in 2006, and within the Far West Village rezoning area which GVSHP and many of the same groups successfully fought to get the city to agree to implement.
But the plan approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission exceeds the allowable size of development under the incoming zoning. The rezoning is going through the public approval process now, and will not get final approval and take effect for several months. This means the developer can race to try to begin the LPC-approved work now, and if just a small portion is complete when the new zoning takes effect, the development can be ruled “vested” and allowed to finish under the old, more permissive zoning. It was the fear of exactly this happening — developers seeking to get in before new zoning took effect — which led GVSHP and community groups to push City Planning, elected officials, and the Community Board to move on this rezoning for the better part of two years. Unfortunately, several delays pushed the start of this process back to June of this year.
In response, GVSHP has written to Borough President Stringer, City Planning Commission Chair Burden, and City Council Speaker Quinn and urged them to schedule their votes on the rezoning as soon as possible (read the letter HERE). While each has very limited flexibility now about how quickly they can vote, in these circumstances even a few days can make a big difference.
GVSHP is also working with neighbors to closely monitor the site for any signs of illegal, after-hours, or unpermitted work which would speed the process of the development “vesting” before the new zoning takes effect. If you see any such work taking place, please call 311 right away, get a complaint number, and contact GVSHP. Please take digital photos or time-stamped video to substantiate any allegations of illegal or after-hours work.